How to make your suburb a no-go zone for criminals.
Your neighbours are often the first people to see if something is wrong at your home, which makes them the ideal partners in the fight against crime.
This is why Fidelity ADT Security this week issued a public call on South Africans to become involved with their local community safety groups as these voluntary organisations have time-and-again been proven to make a positive difference.
“If we stand together with our next-door neighbours and look after each other, we can make our suburbs ‘no-go zones’ for criminals,” says Agnieszka Gryn, General Manager for Fidelity ADT’s Inland region.
If you have just moved into a new suburb, he recommends making the effort to meeting the people who live next door as soon as possible and sharing contact details with them. They could also provide useful advice on existing community safety organisations in the area. In other instances, your local security company can also put you in touch with members from your community safety organisation.
Not all communities have the energy or appetite to set up a formal neighbourhood watch, but this did not mean that there was nothing residents could do in terms of organising themselves.
“If you don’t have a community watch, we suggest setting up regular meetings with the local SAPS to workshop ideas on how you could assist them in keeping the area safe. It could be as simple as just sharing tips and advice and having a reliable list of contact details for each other. The point is – we all have a part to play and we simply can no longer be idle bystanders when it comes to our own safety,” says Gryn.
She strongly urges anyone who lives in an area where a neighbourhood or community watch has already been set up, to become involved with the organisation as a matter of urgency. The involvement could take many forms – from becoming a patroller to offering monetary or logistical admin support.
Knowing who lives in your area and engaging with your community often leads to combined security implementation and these have a far greater impact on an area than individual efforts, she explains. When neighbours start sharing security tips and reporting suspicious individuals or vehicles spotted in their area, security providers and the SAPS are able to get a better understanding of the activity in the area and implement effective crime prevention tactics.
Gryn says it is also very important to introduce your children to your neighbours. You can for instance agree to keep an eye on each other’s children when they are playing in the garden. Teach your children to go over to one of your neighbours if they are home alone and feel unsafe.
Another good idea is to write the contact details of at least one or two of your neighbours on your list of emergency services numbers and keep this near your telephone. In the event that something happens to you or a loved one in your home, a neighbour will be able to assist you until emergency services arrive.
“The men and women of the South African Police Services (SAPS) simply cannot be everywhere all the time. Neighbours that care about each other and become active participants in the safety of their suburb can make a massive difference,” says Gryn.
How to make your suburb a no-go zone for criminals